Welcome to the Italian Genealogical Group (IGG)
We are heartbroken to have recently lost two dear friends. They will both be missed.
Florio, an IGG Executive Board member, was often at the front desk to greet all
members who arrived at our meetings. Seeing Barbara always brightened my
John Martino, our Special Projects Coordinator and one of the group’s founders, passed from this world in November. His death is a great loss to all of us.
John was a United States Marine Veteran and a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He dedicated all his spare time to coordinating the funding and digitizing of the massive online databases accessible on the IGG and GGG websites which have been so helpful to researchers worldwide.
It all started when John met June DeLalio at a Family History Fair. They were both passionate about genealogy and eager to learn more about their ancestry. They were not happy with the resources they were finding available at the time and decided to form their own group. In 1993, they founded the Italian Genealogy Group of New York. They later changed the name to the Italian Genealogical Group as their membership expanded. The goals of the organization were to develop new sources for Italian genealogy and to make available the best materials, speakers and knowledge for all Italian family history researchers. The group presented speakers from the National Archives and the Ellis Island Restoration Committee as well as member-experts who had extensive knowledge in the field of Italian genealogy. They published a newsletter and a website.
In 1999, John sat with his friend, Don Eckerle of the German Genealogy Group, and they discussed the fact that the Jewish group had begun indexing naturalization records and posting them online. They felt that naturalization records were key to researching family histories, and they decided that the German and Italian groups should also do this as a service to others doing research.
They organized a group of volunteers, requested the proper permissions, and began indexing Suffolk County naturalization records and then Suffolk County Veterans records and progressed to Nassau County. They then indexed and digitized marriage records from both of these counties, as well. John and Don, along with Bob Boeckle of the GGG and a growing army of volunteers, then decided to tackle a truly monumental project, the New York City vital records. At this time, it was only possible to access these records by travelling to the New York archives. They went to the National Archives branch in New York and requested permission to index NARA’s New York naturalization records. NARA requested that they first reorganize thousands of World War II draft records to be microfilmed by the LDS. They then asked that thousands of ships’ manifest records be organized and indexed. They complied on both counts. They then proceeded to index millions of records from New York and surrounding areas, a project that is ongoing. To honor this achievement, in 2014, the National Genealogical Society presented the Award of Merit to John, Don and Bob at the NGS Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia.
John Martino has left a great legacy in the wealth of free information now available to the world.